Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, an editor at progressive website ThinkProgress, epitomizes a real problem for progressives, and society’s ability to trust them with political power. She, like increasing numbers of others espousing her ideology, believes that citizens expressing opinions she doesn’t agree with should be prevented from doing so.
Her post is titled “We live in a world where white supremacists get lucrative book deals,” and her argument is that the “white supremacist” in question (though he isn’t one), inexplicably popular professional asshole Milo Yiannopoulos, shouldn’t be able to get a book published or be paid for writing it.
Yiannopoulos’s act is that he is forcefully and often obscenely politically incorrect, particularly regarding feminism. If he’s a white supremacist, he’s a very odd one, having a gay partner who is black. Yiannopoulos has been banned from Twitter, which regards his harassment of a black actress ban-worthy but the harassment of white male conservatives just desserts, and he has also sparked several episodes on campus last year where his scheduled speeches were cancelled by cowardly college administrators after students complained that the threat of his likely comments being made to others caused them to feel “unsafe.”
He got a book deal because he is famous in some circles, a culture war combatant, and a sometimes amusingly inflammatory writer. He got a book deal because enough people are likely to buy his book that his publisher expects to make money. He got a book deal because enough people in a free country want to read what he has to say. Varkiani believes this is scandalous, and if she and her fellow censors had their way, he wouldn’t be able to get paid to speak or write.
Yiannopoulos is repulsive and a blight on civil discourse. That doesn’t remove his free speech rights, and if forced at lance point to choose between Milo and Varkiani in the power elite, I’d choose the guy who would let me publish my book explaining why we should hate HIM every time.
To the site’s readers’ credit, almost every comment on the article is negative, for all the right reasons. Typical is this one:
The last time I checked the Constitution of the United States, political speech is protected speech, even if you don’t agree with it. And if you don’t agree with it, the correction is more and better speech and arguments, not less. Make a better argument and stop this sophomoric whining.
On the other hand, there are more “likes” on the post than negative comments. Presumably these are the people who believe that what they decide is “hate speech” isn’t protected by the First Amendment.
Or college students…It’s increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two.